(House of Normandy Book 1)
By Cathie Dunn
Publication Date: 8th April 2022
Publisher: Ocelot Press
Page Length: 301 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Viking Fiction
A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy
Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks
Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count Bérengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hrólfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement.
To her relief, Hrólfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.
When Hrólfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hrólfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter.
Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs.
Will Poppa live to witness the dawn of a new era?
ASCENT is the first in a new series about the early women of the House of Normandy – women whose stories have been forgotten. Almost!
Biting her lip, Poppa focused on Father Peter’s ramblings, trying to identify words she recognised, and their meaning. It whiled away the time. Surreptitiously, she changed her weight again.
Moments later, as everyone watched the priest who had paused in his sermon, his head cocked to the side like a bird’s, a sound of raised voices reached her ears. It came from outside. Shouts, which grew steadily closer. But with most of the inhabitants of Bayeux attending church, what could make such a growing noise?
Father exchanged glances with several men in the crowd. An imperceptible nod from him, and they slowly edged closer to him. He spoke in a hushed tone, but Poppa could not hear his words.
More urgent shouting reached her ears, followed by screams that pierced the silence.
Around her, men and women glanced around nervously. Father Peter tried again to read from the Scriptures, clearly in an attempt to distract everyone. It was in vain.
“With me!” Father’s voice cut through the murmurs. The men of Bayeux huddled around him.
Poppa grabbed his arm. He looked at her, giving her hand a squeeze, his expression grave. “Go to Father Peter! He will take you to safety.”
Her eyes widened as he pointed towards the altar. “But Fa—”
“Go, Poppa!” Then he turned his back on her. “Come, men of Bayeux!” he ordered and pushed his way outside. Every boy and man of fighting age – unarmed, their weapons left outside the doors, as was the custom – followed him. After they’d departed, the oak door fell shut with a thud.
Her mouth too dry to speak, Poppa stood still, unable to do as her father had bid. Time seemed to slow to a halt, as silence descended.
Then a woman to Poppa’s left screamed, her voice high-pitched, her eyes wild, unfocused. Immediately, others joined her. The moment of deceptive calm was broken.
Poppa stared around in bafflement. Was her home under attack?
This novel is FREE to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription
She loves historical research, often getting lost in the depths of the many history books on her shelves. She also enjoys exploring historic sites and beautiful countryside.
After having spent many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in the south of France with her husband and two rescue pets: Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog.
Cathie is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society.
If you would like to connect with Cathie you can find her at the following places:
Oh my goodness, this book sounds soooo good. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
It really does sound amazing! A really lovely cover as well.Delete
Thank you so much. :-)Delete
I have just added this book to my to-read list. It sounds right up my street.ReplyDelete
That's fabulous. Thank you so much. I hope you'll enjoy it.Delete
Congratulations on your new release, Cathie. A very interesting era to read about.ReplyDelete
Thanks very much, Grace! It's a fascinating era, with some remarkable women.Delete
We buy one book then we say no more books. They we buy all the books!! Another book to add to my want-to-read-list! Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
ROFL!!!! So true!!!!Delete
Haha, I know the feeling well! Thank you. :-)Delete
Congratulations on your new release, your book sounds amazing, Cathie.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mary. Much appreciated.Delete
This book sounds really interesting.ReplyDelete
It really does!Delete
Thank you, Gemma. :-)Delete
Thanks very much for hosting me with a teaser from Ascent, Mary Anne!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your books release.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much, John.Delete